Its been a mixed but productive week for me, with several painting projects coming to fruition and a series of videos on my Channel queued up and ready (after a LOT of editing). I've been making an effort to focus my painting on miniatures that have sat neglected for a long time. Often these are models that were primed and ready for challenge XIII or IX two or three years ago! I really ought to do a video on procrastination!
3D printed 8.8cm Pak 43/41
A couple of weeks ago I panted up some trenches from Ironclad Miniatures but the gun emplacements were missing their ordinance. I'd ordered some 3D printed models but they hadn't arrived so I finished the trenches knowing I'd be revisiting them in due course. The printed guns arrived last week and here they are. Two 8.8cm Pak 43/41 guns from Butlers Printed Miniatures. I've never bought any 3D prints before so I was interested to give these a go and I'm pretty impressed with them. The printing layers can still be seen in some areas and the models needed a lot of cleaning up when they arrived, but they were half the price of a plastic or metal equivalent. I bought these primarily as 'terrain', simply to put them into the trenches so my British Para's could attempt to knock them out. So while the quality isn't as good as a metal model, I'm pretty pleased with them as terrain, especially at the price I paid.
When you read accounts of the battle in Northern Franch and tankers describe being attacked by 88's, these are probably the weapon they are talking about. Krupp designed this weapon in direct competition with the Rheinmetall Flak41, and they produced a very successful weapon indeed. The Krupp gun was the most powerful anti-tank gun in service with the Wehrmacht and a modified version (the KwK 43) became the main gun of the Tiger II tank.
Its relatively low profile meant it was ideal as an ambush weapon and the wheeled version (the original had a cruciform mount) meant it could be moved quickly from location to location. I once talked to a British veteran who served in Normandy as the driver of a Cromwell tank, and he described a hit from a Pak43 which split the engine block of his tank clean in two. Fortunately, he and all his crew were able to escape, but the tank had to be abandoned.
Kights Solar - Paladin with Elemental Sword
At least I have reached the Third Level of the Chambers of Challenge. It's taken a while to reach it but every stage has been interesting and fun so I'm not complaining. Now we get to the most challenging rooms and I'm starting off with my entry for the Kights Solar. The brief says "A chamber for painting Kights of all kinds, and their knightly deeds, love's, pastimes and quests". Hmm, the ultimate expression of Kightly piety in the fantasy world is the Paladin and I had the perfect model for that. This warrior venutred into the frozen city of Felstad in search of a fabled elemental sword. He has been searching for it in lost scolls and ancient tombes for many years and now he has found it. His Quest is over...but first he must make it out of the city alive.
This is a 28mm Ral Partha Figure from their Pathfinder range and looks particularly heroic. The casting is wonderfully clean and the face was so well sculpted it was a joy to paint. Once again I have based it for use in my Frostgrave games (really must venture back there soon).
The Mouse that Roared - Panzer VIII 'Maus'
I'm aware that I have painted a lot of fantasy figures this Challenge, so I thought I would paint something historical for a change...well sort of. The Panzer VIII was only at the design and trials phase in late 1944 when the Soviets overrun the German testing grounds and of the five ordered, only two hulls and one turret were completed. Had it been completed it would have been the largest tank in service.
At 33 ft long, and 188 metric tons the 'Maus' was absolutely huge, dwarfing all other German and allied tanks. Its main armament was the Krupp-designed 128 mm KwK 44 L/55 gun with a coaxial 75 mm KwK 44 L/36.5 gun. The main gun was powerful enough to destroy all Allied armoured fighting vehicles then in service, some at ranges exceeding 11,500 ft. But like all grandiouse vanity projects, it was plagued with practical problems, not least finding an engine powerful enough to drive the tank. At a time when the Wermacht was desperately short of regular tanks, this hugely resources heavy development project could only have been dreamed up in the minds of a political system that couldn't comprehend defeat, let alone appreciate the practical needs of fighting a war on two fronts.
Of the two hulls built, only one survived the war and was married up with the surviving Turret and taken back to Russian for evaluation. After testing it was taken to the Kubinka Tank Museum for storage, where it remains on display.
Progress towards my target is steady and I should hit it next week if all goes to plan. My points trajectory isn't going to blow anyone's socks off but its been the right pace for me at a very busy time of the year and I'm enjoying it immensely.
Next week I hope to have some more British Para's finished and a few more odds and ends that will take me to my target.